Moscow just rejected French Syrian WMD plan for the United Nations Security Council ... well played, Vlad.
Russia balks at French plan for U.N. Security Council resolution on Syrian chemical arms Will Englund, Michael Birnbaum and Loveday Morris, Washington Post,
MOSCOW — A last-ditch effort to avert a U.S. military strike by transferring control of Syrian chemical weapons ran into obstacles Tuesday, as Russia balked at a French plan to enforce an international agreement under a binding U.N. Security Council resolution with a military option if necessary.
An unexpected Russian proposal to place Syria’s chemical weapons under international monitoring and ultimately destroy them had appeared to be gaining traction earlier in the day, as Syria embraced it, China and Iran voiced support, and the United States said it would explore the idea seriously.
The fighting has finally caught up with Maaloula, renowned as the oldest Christian community in the world.
But a telephone conversation between French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius and his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, revealed a deep divide over their visions of the Security Council’s role — and particularly over the prospect of military action to ensure that an agreement would be honored.
There were also doubts about how Syria’s stockpiles of chemical weapons could be transferred to international monitors in the midst of a bloody and protracted civil war that has claimed more than 100,000 lives.
The call took place after France said it would draft a U.N. Security Council resolution to put the Russian proposal into effect.
In Washington, Secretary of State John F. Kerry told a House committee that the proposal “is the ideal way” to take chemical weapons away from the forces of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. But he warned that the United States would not tolerate “delay” or “avoidance,” adding: “We’re waiting for that proposal, but we’re not waiting for long.”
With support crumbling on Capitol Hill for a resolution authorizing military strikes on Syria, a bipartisan group of senators began coalescing Tuesday around a proposal that would call on the United Nations to condemn the Syrian government for using chemical weapons against its people and order U.N. inspectors into the country to recover the weapons.
If the efforts were unsuccessful, the proposal would give President Obama the authority to order military strikes, according to Senate aides familiar with the talks.
Fabius said bringing Moscow’s proposal to the Security Council would allow the world to judge the intentions of Russia and China, which until now have blocked efforts to sanction Syria for any actions during its 2 1 / 2-year-long civil conflict.
After a telephone conversation Tuesday with Lavrov, Fabius said Russia is reluctant to agree to a binding U.N. Security Council resolution that would provide a framework to control Syria’s chemical weapons stocks.
“I understand that the Russians, at this stage, are not necessarily enthusiastic, and I’m using a euphemism, to frame all this in a binding U.N. resolution,” Fabius told French lawmakers.
The Russian Foreign Ministry quoted Lavrov as saying that the French proposal of a “U.N. Security Council resolution under Chapter 7 of the U.N. Charter with responsibility for the Syrian authorities for the possible use of chemical weapons is unacceptable.” Chapter 7 allows the Security Council to take military action to “restore international peace and security.”